A Brilliant Idea

A Brilliant Idea

How do you come up with a brilliant idea?

Have lots of ideas

Most of the ideas you’ll have are bad ideas. But it takes a bunch of bad ones to find a good one. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at generating ideas.

Look for ideas in odd places.

Everyone looks for business ideas by reading business journals and newspapers. You’re not going to find your next big idea looking where everyone else is looking. Seek out creative idea hiding places.

  • Talk to a young person about what they like, what they’re interested in and playing with.
  • Talk to people in other industries than you have expertise and ask them what they’re reading and learning about.
  • Read white papers (like this one) and trade journals. This can often be boring cause it’s written without the pizzazz, but treasure lies at the forefront of a new discovery.


What you don’t hear about are the amazing deals that went bad. You don’t have to jump into anything. Take your time. Sit still. The best time to do this is right after you had a mild success. Don’t be too hasty to jump back into things thinking you’re lucky streak is unstoppable.

Ask questions without fear of the consequences.

If a stupid question helps you learn something new or see it from a new angle, then ask it. The person you’re talking to might learn from you as well and then you’ll have a truly collaborative conversation.

Great ideas shun desperation.

When you’re desperate, it’s hard to come up with great ideas. If you’re desperate for cash, and you want to start selling stuff to make more cash, it’s really hard to have your ah-ha moment.

But if you’re working hard and making a living, then you can stumble into your idea as you apply the above principles. You can craft it and hone it over time. Be desperate for the new idea, but not with the motives of seeking overnight fame, success, and glory.

(photo via brandon o'connor)